A123 Systems Inc. (AONE), the electric car battery maker that received a $249 million federal grant, filed for bankruptcy protection and said it would sell its assets to Johnson Controls Inc. (JCI)


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The filing may fuel a debate over government financing of alternative-energy and transportation businesses. Federal grants and loans to companies including A123, Fisker Automotive Inc. and Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA) have drawn scrutiny from congressional Republicans following the September 2011 bankruptcy filing of solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC two years after it received a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Energy Department.

“This action is expected to allow the company to provide for an orderly sale of the automotive business assets and all other assets and business units,” A123 said in a press release. Johnson Controls plans to acquire A123’s automotive business assets in a deal valued at $125 million and will provide financing of $72.5 million to support A123’s continued operations, according to the release. A deal to sell a majority stake to a Chinese company fell through, A123 said.

The company listed assets of $459.8 million and debt of $376 million as of Aug. 31 in Chapter 11 documents filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company said yesterday it expected to fail to make an interest payment due yesterday on $143.8 million of notes expiring in 2016.


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Read More at bloomberg.com . By Dawn McCarty and Craig Trudell.


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